Breathing new life into towering riverside landmark

PUBLISHED: 10:14 19 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:14 19 May 2019

The former Sommerfeld and Thomas warehouse on the quay in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris Bishop

The former Sommerfeld and Thomas warehouse on the quay in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop


A derelict warehouse on King’s Lynn’s waterfront looks set to become the site of a major new leisure development.

West Norfolk council has confirmed it has bought the former Sommerfeld and Thomas Warehouse, which towers over the South Quay, for an undisclosed sum. The vast Grade II-listed building was on the market for £1m.

Now the authority is in talks with a potential partner regarding an as yet undisclosed tourism and leisure attraction on the site.

A council spokesman said: "We completed the purchase of the Sommerfeld and Thomas warehouse in November 2018.

"We have successfully made an application for some grant funding through the Coastal Revival Fund which provides us with £10,000 for site surveys and £40,000 for essential repairs.

"We are in the process of commissioning the surveys and thereafter will look to implement the necessary repairs to the historic warehouse structure."

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The council had previously considered a mixed-use development on the site and neighouring former grain silo site.

But the spokesman added: "We have also been approached by an interested party who is keen to develop the site for a tourism/leisure related form of development however these discussions are at an early stage."

The council plans to use money from its business rates pool to remove the 1950s steel frame and asbestos from the rear of the building.

In those days, railway wagons would load and unload goods outside its giant doors from lines running along the quayside.

But in the 1970s and 80s, the Ouse waterfront began to decline and the railway was removed.

Grain silos and other dock-side structures were removed over the next few decades. The warehouse has stood disused for around 25 years.

Agents Rounce and Evans, who marketed the site, said in their sale particulars: "Due to its location in the historic area of King's Lynn with open views over South Quay it is considered that this site could be ideally suited to a residential or retirement scheme or mixed use scheme subject to planning."
The council also has ambitious plans for hundreds of new homes between South Quay and nearby Nelson Street if a partner can be found to build them.

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